Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Eclectic Educator

I Want to Be Known as "Teresa"

Dear Readers,

I was recently listening to Chat with Teachers and advice for new teachers was one of the topics being discussed. (I highly recommend checking out these podcasts, despite them being approximately 60 minutes, they are worth a listen to!) One of the suggestions was to observe other teachers, gather ideas and then turn around and make them your own. 

In a world where people are always striving to fit in, I have worked hard at striving to be "Teresa". One of my students recently commented that I am my own person. Another commented that he did not think I was the "popular" kind of student who "fit in", but rather someone who did what I wanted to do. Years ago, a colleague told me that I beat to my own drum. My personality has been described as quirky and a colleague always tells me my "style" is "funky". From the purple highlights to my "personalized" outfits. I take great pride in being myself.

As I reflect on this, it does not mean I want to "stand out" either. I just want to be me. I do not want to be a ___________ (fill in with whatever word you like) teacher or leader or educator. Paul O'Neill has recently started #PLN365 and a question of the day was, what would you name a book written about your educational career? I was going to use the title of my blog, easy out, but challenged myself to think deeper. I realized that I did not want to be associated with one thing, but rather a "collection" of all the skills, strategies, ideas, resources, etc that I have implemented throughout the years.

The title The Eclectic Educator came to me. It describes my journey perfectly. I have always had the ability to see the big picture and how things fit together. I am always learning, trying, failing and succeeding. 

I read books from the literacy world as well as the business world. I incorporate ideas from Teach Like a Pirate to Falling in Love with Close Reading. I can integrate social media trends from #CelebrateMonday to Slice of Life Writing. My students are the center of my "professional universe". In order to meet their needs and challenge their thinking, I need to have a diverse toolkit to pull from.

My advice to new teachers would be to ask questions, observe as many colleagues as possible and soak up everything you can! Then take all that learning and make it YOU. YOU are unique, special and have something to offer that nobody else does. Enjoy the journey and be kind to yourself.